Gin and the Gin Craze
The juniper-flavoured spirit, gin, was highly popular in the eighteenth century. The ‘Gin Craze’ swept through the poorer districts of London in particular, leading to widespread concern that its deleterious effects on the health of the labouring classes could precipitate a national decline.
Punch bowls were made from a range of materials and contained a drink that was accessible to a range of social ranks. These bowls were associated with a particular mode of convivial sociability.
In the eighteenth century, sugar, once a luxury item, became more affordable and was used as a sweetener for tea and baked goods at a time when the tea-table was coded as domestic and feminine.
From the 1680s onwards, the English glassmaking industry strode on, offering ever more specialized types of glass to an increasing range of individuals, clubs and political organizations. Both resistant and elegant, new ranges of glasses were produced for the ritual of toasting.